In our last two posts we examined how political correctness can pressure individuals to self-censor their speech, whether in person or on the Internet, out of fear of ridicule, ostracism, or actual punishment by the enforcers of politically correct “right think”. This tendency to not speak out has been dubbed the spiral of silence. We looked at the cases of two police officers who lost their jobs, in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO, because of comments they had made.
After Ferguson, once again we’re hearing cries for a “conversation about race.” A truly productive conversation is not going to happen in the current atmosphere, in light of the spiral of silence. Why not? Because political correctness poisons the well. Any comment perceived to be politically incorrect, in this context, will immediately result in accusations of racism. How, then, can there be any real dialogue?